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> Newbie: my first char (full mage), Comments on char creation?
sadcanuck
post Sep 9 2004, 05:28 PM
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Hi,

I noticed another post from a newbie (actually a "teammate" for this weekend's first shadowrun game for our group) soliciting comments for his character. I'm new to Shadowrun as well and was wondering what everyone thought of this character "Slappy", an ork mage.

I used the character generator housed on dumpshock and fiddled with things til I got something I sort of liked. I left out the contacts and biography for this character in this post, but if you'd like to see it, just ask.

I'm not sure about equipment, not sure of spell selection. My goal is to create a combat oriented-mage who can also defend the party from magical attacks.

Having said that I might ditch improved invisibility as the other magic user, a shaman, has it, and use the points to boost the spellshield spell ... or I might take clairaudience as well.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome :-) thanks!


Attributes
======
Body 5
Quickness 5
Strength 6
Charisma 4
Intelligence 5
Willpower 5
Essence 6.00
Run Mult. 3
Magic 6
BioIndex 0
Reaction 5
Init. Dice 1

Edges & Flaws
==========
Human Looking 1
College Education 1
Focused Concentration 2
Quick Healer 2
Connected 3
Photographic Memory 3
SRG:Pointed Ears -1
Braggart -1
Impulsive -2
Vindictive -2
Simsense Vertigo -2
Sensitive Neural Struct. 2 -4

POOLS
=====
Karma 1 Spell 5
Combat 7 Task 0
Control 0
Hacking 0 Astral 7

Spells
====
Heal 3
Influence 3
Clairvoyance 4
Improved Invisibility 4
Levitate 2
Spell Shield 2
Powerbolt 4
Fireball 3

Skills
====

Active:

Submachine Guns [3]
Athletics [4]
Aura Reading [4]
Sorcery [5]
Centering [3]
Conjuring [6]
Divining [3]
Enchanting [4]

Knowledge & Language:

Gang Turf(KNO) [2]
Fences(KNO) [4]
Arms Dealers(KNO) [4]
Police Procedures(KNO) [4]
Safehouse Locations(KNO) [4]
Shadowrunner Haunts(KNO) [4]
AC:Spell Design(KNO) [2]
English(LAN) [4]
English(LAN) (RW) [2]
Japanese(LAN) [2]
Japanese(LAN) (RW) [1]
Sioux(LAN) [1]
AC:Medicine(KNO) [2]


Weapons and equipment
================
Forearm Snap Blades(EDG)
Baretta Model 70 (SMG) Laser sight, Sound Suppressor
- 5 35 round clips of ammo (regular rounds)

Ration Bars (10 Days)
Flashlight, pocket
fine clothing
Victory "Wild Hunt" C.Jumpsuit 9(conc) 3(ball) 2(Imp)




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Wounded Ronin
post Sep 9 2004, 05:37 PM
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I'll make my comments since you asked for them, but bear in mind that the comments only reflect the way that I play. Obviously there's no "right" or "wrong" way to make a character as long as you're having fun.



I think that your guy isn't focused enough. What's with all the rating 3 and 4 skills and spells? With magic, everything should be at least rating 5. In fact, 5 is a good number to cast spells at. With skills, your core magical skills (i.e. sorcery, conjuring) ought to be at a six (And yes, I see you do have conjuring at 6).

When I make a character, I generally specialize specific attributes and skills to max out the character's ability in their specialty area. Hey, it's not as bad as laying on the bioware and cyberware and getting some monster with a double digit quickness score.

I just figure that if *I* personally were a shadowruner, I'd want to be a specalist rather than a generalist. That's the purpose of working in a team as opposed to working alone; so that your highly specialized and capable teammates can take care of the things that you haven't trained in.

Furthermore, people always want to pay big bucks to hire the famous specalist. No one pays big bucks to hire a generalist.

So, the way I see it, most shadowrunners who are concerned about their "professional image" would cut themselves as specialists in one thing or another, rather than being reasonable at a wide ranage of skills.
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RedmondLarry
post Sep 9 2004, 08:35 PM
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I second what Ronin suggested.

You have many edges and flaws. Several will constrain how you play your character. I suggest new players use very few edges/flaws, to give themselves more freedom later to decide how their character wishes to behave. You have enough to learn about playing without saddling your first character with edges/flaws.
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Cynic project
post Sep 9 2004, 09:48 PM
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Simsense Vertigo -2
Sensitive Neural Struct. 2 -4

I would not let you charatcer have either of these flaw, and at best I would give him half their points. This is because they both are relanat on having DNA interface. You do not have any cyberware,and as such when every you would do onto the matrix, or watch TV it is highly unlikely you would be doing so threw anything that would triger your flaws.

Basicly, you are geting six free points,and saying I am am illegergic to great dragon farts.
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lokugh
post Sep 9 2004, 11:02 PM
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If I were your GM, I'd also disallow the "pointed ears" flaw. You are an ork...you already have pointed ears. Also, on the "Human Looking" edge, if it were me, I'd also make you take a negative reaction -2 to all etiquette and fast talk tests in dealing with orks and trolls and a -2 to any human or elf who saw through it. Of course, I've never liked that Edge...I always thought it was a cop out :)

Your GM might not mind either way, but it is something to think about.
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Rory Blackhand
post Sep 9 2004, 11:06 PM
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Since your partner has heal you could get treat instead. It will be easier to do the healing with treat, but you have to get there sooner and make sure to get your friend treated if he goes down. He is your source of healing.

Get some armor. Can't stress that enough.

Just go force 1 for levitate. Your goal should just be to get the package airborne not speed it thru the air. One more force level won't gain you much speed anyway.

Don't feel like looking it up, but aren't some of your skills restricted to initiates only? Like enchanting and centering? I think you have to be an initiate to get access to those skills.

I am sure others will disagree, but I have found athletics to be not as useful. I would make it a low priority skill.

One thing, it is tough to give advice on a character without the background and how you envision playing it. I usually come up with the character concept first, then fill in the stats and skills second. For example, if you were a tribal type and shun modern technology you would take bow over firearms to be trained on for a ranged attack. The background or rough idea is important.
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 9 2004, 11:12 PM
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Spell Shield is almost a waste unless you want to be a bodyguard. As a sorcerer you can use Spell Defense to defeat enemy spells and Wards for more long term protection without wasting the Spell Points. I would drop Fireball as well, though I can see the desire to keep it. Having no stun damaging spells is a mistake I think. Take the Fireball points and get Stunball or Thunderclap. Also, you should consider fetish limitations for Heal, Influence, and Clairvoyance to increase their Force but not cost (remember to buy the fetishes if you do!).

You also have no hermetic library or conjuring materials, but that's understandable for a starting character.

Forgot the Edges and Flaws, I'd take Focus Concentration and Vindictive while dropping everything else.
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Eyeless Blond
post Sep 9 2004, 11:15 PM
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On a further note, since you don't have the Centering or Divining metamagic techniques, the points spent on those skills are wasted. Use them elsewhere instead; I'd suggest uping your Ettiquite and Stealth skills, which are curiously absent. Also make sure to put your sorcery at 6, because without 6 in Sorcery you're not really a spellcaster. While you're at it your Willpower should be 6 as well; since you have two skills at 6 you're paying the same number of points to keep the Will at 5 anyway.

I'll also agree with the people telling younot to try to munch out your Edges and Flaws when you're new. If your GM is at all competent he will make you pay for them. For example since you are picking up sensetive nural struct 2 *and* sensetive system, you will more than likely one day end up getting knocked out and waking up jacked into the Matrix through a brand new datajack you never saw before, and that day will suck, hard. I'd also get rid of Pointed Ears and Human-looking, as they are kinda self-contradictory. :)
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Kanada Ten
post Sep 9 2004, 11:32 PM
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He also doesn't have the required Artistic skills to match the Centering and Divining. Definitely a waste of points. Good call on the Willpower too, Eyeless.
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Herald of Verjig...
post Sep 9 2004, 11:38 PM
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He could use Police Procedures as his skill for both centering and divination.
Centering: chant the list of rights that an arrested suspect still has
Divination: open the rule book to a random page and find meaning therein

Of course, he'd still need to initiate twice to do both.
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Lindt
post Sep 10 2004, 12:40 AM
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WAAAAy too many edges/flaws. Just scrap all of them. No really... What generation system did you use to make this guy, because Im not getting this adding up right (but I cant do math)? Hes got crap for spells, crap for skills, no contacts, and no eqipment. Why such a high skill for conjuring, and a lower sorcery skill for a combat mage? Whats his biggest spell (use wise?) make it a 6, levitation should be 1, spell shield... scrap it and make sure to allocate spell defence dice to your friends. And you dont have a non-leathal skill at all... no unarmed, no clubs, no stun spells. And infulance? Its cool, but it dosent seem to fit the profile. Not bad for a first charcter though.
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lokugh
post Sep 10 2004, 01:25 AM
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BTW, this is a good try for a first character (I'd still dump the edges/flaws or at least limit yourself to two or three). Mages are hard to do, which is why the books don't recommend them for first timers...but if you are all first timers, well, that no longer applies. We are only being critical because you asked (I feel kinda bad we seem to be pounding on your character...).

Here is a major problem: You have conjuring of 6 and sorcery 5. Now, nothing wrong with that, if you plan to play the mage as mainly a conjurer (I'd still go for sorcery 6, but could be a good RP reason why it is not). However, If you do it this way, you need to have a maxed charisma. Conjuring drain is based on charisma, as are other conjuring tests/levels. So if you want a conjuror, raise it. Willpower is also important, but less so. This does fit in with your protection angle to some extent.

If you are planning to make a more traditional combat mage (slingin' fireballs with one hand and shooting with the other :) ) then drop conjuror to 4, raise sorcery to 6, raise willpower to 6, get a non-lethal weapon skill (or buy a narcojet pistol/taser and take some skill for it). Also, take some stealth and drop spell shield in favor of a stealth spell of some sort (Stealth or Silence...I've never been a fan of the invisibility spells myself, but Improved Invis works I suppose).
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Glyph
post Sep 10 2004, 03:02 AM
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On Attributes:
The Strength of 6 really stands out as not necessary. I would drop it to 4, and use the two points to raise Charisma to 5 and Willpower to 6. I see you have forearm snap blades - I would recommend against them. Melee combat is an opposed test, where Target Numbers really matter (since there tend to be less modifiers). Defaulting from Strength, when trying to match the successes of someone with an actual skill (who may be spending Combat Pool as well), is asking to get hurt. If someone gets in close, you are better off using a spell.

On skills:
You have too many points on skills that you won't even need until Initiation. It looks more like the point build for an academic mage than a combat mage. I would lose both Centering and Divining. To be honest, I would probably lose Enchanting as well. You already have three magical skills (Aura Reading, Conjuring, and Sorcery) - that's plenty to start out with. Get Etiquette and Stealth. Those are the two most important general skills out there. I would take one at 4, another at 5, and put 2 more points in your SMG skill - generally, if you take a combat skill, you want it high enough to be effective. You may have noticed that 4+5+2 = 11 points, when you only got rid of 10 points of skills; you save a point by raising Willpower to 6, making Conjuring only cost 6 instead of 7 points.

On spells:
I agree with previous posts that you should drop Levitate down to 1 and lose Spell Shield (redundant with Spell Defense most of the time). Any combat-oriented, resisted spell should be Force: 5 at the minimum, with 6 being far more preferable. I would use the 3 saved spell points to raise Powerbolt to 6 and raise Improved Invisibility to 5 (giving it the same Drain still, but making it harder to resist). For Heal, you might consider making it Exclusive for lower cost (since it is likely to be cast outside of combat situations), letting you get it at 5. Neither Fireball nor Influence are any good at Force: 3. I would pick one or the other, and take it at Force: 6.

On Edges and Flaws:
I would probably pare them down. A lot. I agree that Simsense Vertigo and Sensitive Neural Structure are kind of cheesy. For an anti-cyber character, either Sensitive System or Bio-Rejection are good ones, which give you an actual disadvantage (but not a crippling one). If you want a bit of a cocky, overconfident character, I would keep the Braggart and Impulsive Flaws but lose the Vindictive Flaw, which can either be a crippling Flaw, lead to problems among players in the game, or both. For Edges, Focused Concentration is a very good one to take. For the three remaining points (assuming you are still balancing them), it's all good. Maybe Human-Looking, College Education, and Friendly Face?

On gear:
For armor, I would get a secure long coat (a Mortimer Greatcoat is good as well, if you can afford it) and level: 3 Form-Fitting Body Armor, giving you 5/2 armor. You really want high ballistic armor - 3 is not good enough. An armored jacket would give you one more point, but the long coat is invaluable in adding to the concealability of weapons.

For weapons, as I said, lose the forearm snap blades. The SMG is a nice one, but hard to conceal, and keep in mind that opting for a sound suppressor rather than recoil compensation will really affect your accuracy. Using tracer rounds can help that a lot, at only a small loss of power.
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Mathaos42
post Sep 10 2004, 12:09 PM
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Hello Everyone,

Thank you very much for posting on this char and the other, posted by my soon to be brother in-law Heinous (Rob, you need more self-esteem with a name like that!).

I'm the bad/ill-skilled/under-experienced GM who suggested to SadCanuck that he should use some flaws/edges. While the particular ones being used may need to be reviewed, such as the human appearing/pointy ears combo (which he had actually asked me about, I just hadn't gotten back to him) I know he initially didn't want to use any as he was afraid of me constantly punishing him for them. I actually recommended that he not worry, these are our first charectors and I won't abuse him too poorly unless he does something stupid and deserves it :-) I know reading the forum that generally people seem to view the edges/flaws almost as cheating that needs to be routed out... I'm looking more at its role-play value and as a thank you to SadCanuck and Heinous for taking on the mages while none of us know how to do anything. We meet this Saturday and they are the only two that I know have read the book and have begun attempting to flush out their charectors.

That said, I'm very appreciative of all the responses and all the help everyone is providing with our learning. Its an aweful lot to learn in a limited time with no practical experience. But in general assume that if the char creation seems misguided its probably because I suggested some poor idea to them.

I've actually been lurking on these forums for a while now and unfortunately have had neither the knowledge nor the need to post. I'm glad that I finally had a reason too, it means that I'm going to get to play soon! Though this may be unfortunate for you as I'm sure you'll be seeing some very simple-minded questions posted by myself in the future.

And please continue to suggest hints to SadCanuck, but perhaps ignore the edges/flaws as I suggested them to him and I think we now have enough info regarding them to make some decisions.

Mathaos42
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 10 2004, 12:50 PM
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QUOTE (Mathaos42)
I know reading the forum that generally people seem to view the edges/flaws almost as cheating that needs to be routed out...

I have no idea where you're getting this from. As far as I can tell, there are quite a lot of us who wouldn't consider using a character without edges/flaws unless we had to :)

~J
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gfen
post Sep 10 2004, 12:55 PM
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Edges and flaws are usually just convienent and silly ways to let players further exercise their numbercrunching and munchkin skills.

Kinda like feats were in AD&D v3.

Personally, I believe its because the average roll-player around here has been raised in the video game generation. On the other hand, maybe its cause I'm an old man, from another era.
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Mathaos42
post Sep 10 2004, 01:00 PM
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QUOTE (gfen)
Personally, I believe its because the average roll-player around here has been raised in the video game generation. On the other hand, maybe its cause I'm an old man, from another era.

Old man? You're what... 29 or so? When did that become old?

And I see nothing wrong with video games... I actually tend to be very fond of them. I was introducted to Shadowrun via the Genesis game, then read some books and then years later picked up the RPG...
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 10 2004, 01:43 PM
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QUOTE (gfen)
Personally, I believe its because the average roll-player around here has been raised in the video game generation.

Because Tetris, Donkey Kong, Jungle Hunt, 3 in Three, Fool's Errand, TI Invaders, Pac-Man, etc. were so about number crunching :S

~J
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Rory Blackhand
post Sep 10 2004, 01:53 PM
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I enjoy the variety of options edges and flaws bring. Don't really care if anyone feels this is being a munchkin or not. In fact, I would like to see them expanded. Not that I have seen all the possible combinations of characters, but edges and flaws add to the flavor of the game in my opinion. Variety, innovation, and suprise is a good thing.

gfen, what generation were you raised in? I was born in the 50s. Didn't have computers or video games when I was a kid. I grew up playing Blitzkrieg and panzerblitz, then Third Reich and Squad Leader. Started playing dnd in 1977. Interesting location too, but it should read:

Location: bethlehem, pennsylvania. not israel. we're not busy bulldozing any palestinian bomb factories disguised as homesteads here. yet.
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Kagetenshi
post Sep 10 2004, 02:02 PM
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Perhaps that discussion should be better left to PMs or off the board entirely…

~J
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snowRaven
post Sep 10 2004, 03:01 PM
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Okay - I'll adress everything in turn:

Attributes
They're fine. There are arguments for raising several of them at the expense of others, but it all depends on the focus you want the guy to have. I say stick to 'em.

Edges & Flaws
Pointed Ears got to go - that is a SURGe effect, and your char ain't a Changeling. As a GM I'd only give half the points for Sensitive Neural System and Simsense Vertigo (if that) and I strongly recommend against the combination Braggart/Impulsive/Vindictive. If enforced properly, this means that your character goes around boasting to everyone about everything, and tries to beat 'em up when they inslut him by refuting his claims. My suggested list:

College Education 1
Focused Concentration 2
Connected 3
Vindictive OR Impulsive -2
Simsense Vertigo -2 or -1 (if the GM allows it at all)
Allergy(Silver; Severe) -3 (Moderate if the GM allows Simsense Vertigo at 2 points)

If the Gm doesn't allow Simsense Vertigo, find another suitable flaw (Combat Monster maybe?) or remove the College Education.

Spells
Suggested changes: drop Influence, it takes 15 turns to cast and at Force 3 your chances of success are limited. A high Force at powerbolt makes it more versatile, and more deadly. Same goes for fireball (it needs to be higher than 4, really, since Impact armor protrects partially - my suggestion is make it Exclusive for cost to boost it to 6). Spell Shield higher for better protection, Levitate and Clairvoyance lower because the point won't matter too much there.

Heal 3
Clairvoyance 3
Improved Invisibility 4
Levitate 1
Spell Shield 4
Powerbolt 6
Fireball 4 (Exclusive 6?)

Active Skills
Skip Divining - the points are useless until you've initiated at least once (and you might want centering on your first), same goes for Centering (don't even think you are allowed to learn those before you know the metamagic, but not sure). Use the points to raise Submachine Guns to 4 and get Edged Weapons 4(Forearm Snap Blades 6)
Sorcery and Conjuring should trade places.
You might want to consider sacrificing a few points off of Enchanting and Aura Reading and putting them on Etiquette. Especially if you have a number of useable contacts. If he's a hermetic magician I suggest taking another point off of Conjuring too, since he needs a library before he can summon anything anyway.

Submachine Guns [4]
Edged Weapons [4] (Forearm Snap Blades [6])
Athletics [4]
Sorcery [6]
Conjuring [4]
Aura Reading [3]
Enchanting [3]
Etiquette [3]

Knowledge & Language:
Since you know Enchanting I'd replace the Arms Dealers skill with Talismongering. You might want to get Magic Background too, the expense of Shadowrunner Haunts.

Gang Turf(KNO) [2]
Fences(KNO) [4]
Talismongering(KNO) [4]
Police Procedures(KNO) [4]
Safehouse Locations(KNO) [4]
Magic Background(KNO) [4]
AC:Spell Design(KNO) [2]
English(LAN) [4]
English(LAN) (RW) [2]
Japanese(LAN) [2]
Japanese(LAN) (RW) [1]
Sioux(LAN) [1]
AC:Medicine(KNO) [2]

Weapons and equipment
Personally I'd replace the jumpsuit with an Armor Vest w/Plates (4/3 protection, high concealability) or a Secure Long Coat (4/2 protection, good for hiding that smg under). Both are cheaper than the jumpsuit, too. But it's a matter of style as well as protection, so if a camo jumpsuit works better with the character, go for it.

My 2 cents worth, hope it helps.
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kevyn668
post Sep 10 2004, 04:36 PM
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Wouldn't Forearm Snap Blades use Cyber Implant Weaponry instead of Edged Weapons?
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BitBasher
post Sep 10 2004, 04:40 PM
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No, because they are not implanted cyber weaponry.

They're strap on comic book weaponry.

Buy a freaking knife! ;)
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kevyn668
post Sep 10 2004, 04:44 PM
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QUOTE (BitBasher)
No, because they are not implanted cyber weaponry.

They're strap on comic book weaponry.

Buy a freaking knife! ;)

I just figured they'd fall under CIW because they simulate cyberspurs.

...and they're way cooler than a knife. :)
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gfen
post Sep 10 2004, 05:02 PM
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QUOTE
I enjoy the variety of options edges and flaws bring. Don't really care if anyone feels this is being a munchkin or not. In fact, I would like to see them expanded. Not that I have seen all the possible combinations of characters, but edges and flaws add to the flavor of the game in my opinion. Variety, innovation, and suprise is a good thing.


You're right enough, Rory, except for the fact that they're never used like that. Instead, they're used in such a way to provide maximum benefits for no penalties. IE, crap like decreasing the penalties for sustained spells, and in return I'll take the tradeoff of being "vindictive," or "braggart," or any of the typically abused, stupid things that aren't even treated in such a way, in games, as being a penalty.

Being "vindictive" isn't a flaw, its a roleplaying quirk you put into how you play someone. Same with many of the others, as well.

Not that some of the flaws aren't actually detrimental, however, the ones players choose are usually nonsense and exist solely to make their characters into little powerup machines.


QUOTE

Because Tetris, Donkey Kong, Jungle Hunt, 3 in Three, Fool's Errand, TI Invaders, Pac-Man, etc. were so about number crunching


Actually, I mean teh whole feat (since that's what I was referring to specifically) nonsense is about mindless numbercrunching. By extent, the edges/flaws bit falls into that same category, as well. The video game reference is more in regards to people being unable to function unless their character is able to perform miricle feats by farting speciality phermones that only attract people of the opposite gender and lower their TNs, etc.

Feel free to try and obfusciate the matter, though. It is the respected Dumpshock way, eh?

QUOTE

And I see nothing wrong with video games... I actually tend to be very fond of them. I was introducted to Shadowrun via the Genesis game, then read some books and then years later picked up the RPG...


Nope, nothing wrong with video games at all. I enjoy them immensely. However, pen and paper RPGs and computer RPGs aren't the same, and shouldn't be combined. Hell, my first forays into Shadowrun are left over by playing an old MUD (Cyberworld 2, which, if I recall, wasn't really SR but just sorta cyberpunk), and from there the books and the Genesis game.

I get in arguments with my D&D v3+ friends where I continually rail against all the silly feats and nonsense in that game, too. Its all unneeded. Having to inject dry mechanics and clever special skills into a game removes the actual clever roleplaying and replaces it with rollplaying.

I'm vindictive so I got two extra build poitns, not because I'd like to pretend I'm a heartless bastard. Or, whatever.

Ladeda..edited cuz I can't spell qoute.

Err, quote. See! See!
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